The island of Saba is located in the Caribbean in the immediate vicinity of St. Martin. The island has been a “special community” (bijzondere gemeente) of the Netherlands in the eastern Caribbean since October 10, 2010.
Saba or the “unspoiled queen”, as it is also known, consists mainly of an extinct volcano, the Mt. Scenery. The island is part of the Netherlands Antilles and probably one of the most unknown Caribbean islands. Due to the lack of beaches and thus a rather underdeveloped tourist industry, Saba has managed to maintain its original image.
The island is inhabited by the descendants of settlers from different countries of the world, as despite its unspectacular size it was colonized by the English, French and Dutch over the centuries, as well as the descendants of African slaves.
The coasts are rough and the interior of the island is covered with tropical vegetation. Saba is famous for its national marine park with 30 diving sites.
|Name of the island
|Form of government
|Special municipality (bijzondere gemeente) of the Netherlands
|The island is located in the Caribbean
and belongs to the Lesser Antilles.
It is about 35 km from Sint Maarten
|Saba, you rise from the ocean
|58% Roman Catholic,
22% belong to other religious communities –
such as Islam, Judaism and the seven days of Adventists
|Dutch, English and Papiamentu
|Mount Scenery with a height of 877m
(it is the highest mountain in the Netherlands)
|As of January 1, 2011, US dollars
|Saba Tourist Office
PO Box 527
Tel.: + 599- 416-2231/2322
Fax: + 599- 416-2350
Email: [email protected]
|Time difference to CET
|– 5 h
|International phone code
|Internet TLD (Top Level Domain)
The first residents of the island were the Caribs, who settled there around 700 AD. They lived in village communities and lived from fishing and agriculture.
Christopher Columbus discovered the island on his second voyage on November 13, 1493, but did not land there because of the rocky coast, and took possession of it for the Spanish Crown.
1632 a group of shipwrecked English landed on Saba. When they were rescued, they reported that the island was uninhabited. However, some artifacts have been found that indicate that Caribs or Arawak Indians may have inhabited the island during this period.
1635 a French claimed Saba for Louis XIII of France and around 1640 the Dutch governor of the neighboring island of St. Eustatius sent settlers to Saba to colonize them, but four years later they were expelled by the Englishman Thomas Morgan. However, over the centuries, ownership of the island changed frequently between the Netherlands, Spain, Great Britain and France.
From 1816 the Netherlands finally took possession of Saba.
17th and 18th centuries
In the 17th and 18th centuries, sugar, rum and later fishing were the island’s main source of income. In the 17th century England deported “undesirable persons” to the Caribbean colonies, many of whom became pirates. One of the island’s famous pirates was Hiram Beakes. It is believed that Saba was the headquarters of the Jamaican pirates during this period.
Later sea trade became an important source of income and many of the men went to sea, during which time hand-made lace made by the island’s women became an important trade.
The first paved road was not built until 1938 and in 1947 the first motor vehicle came to the island
Saba became an island area of the founded autonomous state of the Netherlands Antilles in 1954
1959, 1960 and 1963
The first aircraft landed in a breakneck maneuver on a makeshift runway in 1959, pilot Remy de Haenen proved that it was possible to land an aircraft on the island. As a result, the construction of an airport began in 1960, which was completed in 1963.
1970, 1972 and 1976 In
1970 the island was fully supplied with electricity for the first time, the port was expanded in 1972 and a private medical university was founded 14 years later.
At the request of the people of Saba, the representatives of the Netherlands and the Netherlands Antilles decided on December 15 to dissolve the National Association of the Netherlands Antilles with effect from October 10, 2010. Since that day Saba has been a “special municipality” in the Netherlands. From 2011, the Netherlands Antilles guilder was replaced by the US dollar as the official currency.
Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten form – since the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles on October 10, 2010 – together with the “Netherlands in Europe” the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The “Netherlands in Europe” also includes the islands of Bonaire, Sint Estatius and Saba in the Caribbean – as so-called “special municipalities”. Therefore, the Queen or the King of the Netherlands is the head of state of Sheba.
The hymn of Saba was written and composed by Christina Maria Jeurissen or Sister Waltruda from the Order of Dominican Nuns in 1960
- Saba, you rise from the ocean,
with mountain and hillside so steep,
How can we reach you to greet you,
Isle of the sea, rough and deep.
Come, let us look at the rowers
with faces so placid and calm,
Guide us now safe through the breakers,
take us ashore without harm.
Saba, Oh Jewel most precious,
In the Caribbean sea.
Mem’ries will stay of thy beauty,
Though we may roam far from thee.
- Saba, oh pearl of the ocean,
Friendly and lovely, though small,
Do not forget to be grateful,
To God the creator of all.
He in his goodness will guide you
and bless you in every part,
Making you always most precious
Saba, so dear to my heart.
Saba, Oh jewel most precious,
In the Caribbean Sea.
Mem’ries will stay of thy beauty,
Though we may roam far from thee